Education, Nonprofits, and Sustainability

College wins $440K grant for sustainable design

May 11, 2016
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Wege Prize finalists tackle 'wicked problem'
The Wege Prize hosts a biomimicry workshop at the BISSELL Treehouse at John Ball Zoo. Photo via

A local college has been awarded a substantial gift to continue building an international sustainable design competition.

The Wege Foundation in Grand Rapids has provided the Kendall College of Art and Design, or KCAD, Wege Center for Sustainable Design a $440,000 grant to continue running the Wege Prize for the next four years.

“Wege Prize 2015 was our debut as a national competition, and this year, it has become a worldwide endeavor,” said Leslie Bellavance, president, KCAD. “With this grant, we will continue to inspire innovation for transformative change in the years to come.”

International vision

Organizers of the Wege Prize are looking to expand the scope of the competition over the course of the grant and plan to engage increasingly diverse groups of international participants.

The Wege Prize began in 2014 as a regional competition, before expanding to a national competition last year and an international competition for 2016.

“Students are conscious of the environmental and economic crises facing their generation,” said Mark Van Putten, CEO, The Wege Foundation. “Wege Prize is an experience that empowers learners to collaborate in the pursuit of sustainable global development.”

Wege Prize

The Wege Prize challenges teams comprising five students to design a product, service or business model that can function within and foster a shift towards a circular economy.

The 2016 Wege Prize Awards will take place this Saturday in Grand Rapids at KCAD’s Woodbridge N. Ferris Building, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The first-place team will receive a $15,000 award, and the second- and third-place teams will receive $10,000 and $5,000.

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